A Grant of Representation is a generic term, which refers to either the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration in UK probate cases. The former refers to the giving of permission for a named executor to administer a deceased person’s estate. The latter refers to the giving of permission to an administrator to deal with the deceased’s assets in the absence of an executor or a will.
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When is a Grant of Probate needed?
In most situations an executor will be named in the will and shall apply for a Grant of Probate after the date of death. However it is only necessary for him to do so if one of the following requirements are satisfied:
- More than £5,000 has been left;
- The will contains investments i.e. stocks and shares;
- There is a life insurance policy; and
- The deceased has left a beneficial interest in a property i.e. the deceased was a tenant in common.
Click here to read more about the differences between tenancy in common and joint tenants
When is a Grant of Letters of Administration needed?
If the executors under the will do not wish to be involved in the distrbution of the assets, or the will did not actually name an executor, the UK Probate Office will issue an administrator with a Grant of Letters of Administration (with will annexed).
If there is no will (or no valid will) then the Probate Office will issue an administrator with a Grant of Letters of Administration alone.
Why are these ‘Grants’ needed?
Basically the executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate is unable to collect in any of the assets without first formally obtaining a Grant of Representation. Some organisations will release small assets without having to see this first, but these are generally in the minority.
You would need a Grant of Representation before you were able to sell a property belonging to the deceased or access any of the deceased’s bank accounts.
If however, the property or bank account was held in joint names then you may not require a Grant, the death certificate alone may suffice.
How can I apply to become an administrator of an estate?
The first people that should be applying for any type of Grant are those named as executors in the will. If there are no named executors or they have renounced their responsibility then it is the person named a first beneficiary of the whole of the estate that should apply. It is in the best interest of that beneficiary to distribute the estate correctly.
Click here to read more about the duties of an executor.
If there is no valid will then the deceased’s next of kin can make an application for a Grant of Representation. Applicants must be over 18 and the order or priority for application is as follows;
- issue (children)
- siblings(i.e. brothers and sisters)
- and then other close relatives.
To apply for a Grant of Representation you must fill in the appropriate application form (which is obtainable from the Government online here) and return this to your local Probate Office along with the original death certificate and will (where appropriate). The Probate staff will assess your application and you will be interviewed to confirm that all the details provided are correct.
Once you have completed your interview, providing there are no issues to deal with, the Grant should be sent to you in the post. If you are unable to be issued with a Grant then the Probate Office will explain why.
Can a solicitor apply on my behalf?
Yes. It is often a good idea to appoint a solicitor to apply for the Grant on your behalf. A Probate Solicitor may either charge you on an hourly rate or by a % of the estate for their probate services, so it is important to ascertain which is the best option for you.
Click here to read 14 Key Reasons To Use A Solicitor for Probate
Our team of experienced probate team can deal with any inheritance tax issues before applying for the Grant. Inheritance tax especially on larger or more varied estates can be a complex matter, which is best dealt with by a specialist.
Click here to find out more about how our probate solicitors can help you.